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Gap Year Planning Advice | The Gap Year Experts

Written by Milly Whitehead on 31 / 07 / 2023

Gap Year Advice

Tune into this 20 minute Zoom recording, produced for the students at The Ashcombe School. Listen to Milly's thoughts and top tips on the current gap year trends, the gap year timeline, how to travel: independent verses team travel , where to travel: Africa, Asia, Central and South America, plus volunteering, internships and ski season opportunities.

Milly Whitehead is a Director of the Leap Overseas who are specialists in gap year volunteering and adventure travel. Milly and her husband Guy set up The Leap over 20 year ago, and so has considerable experience of making the most of one's gap year.


For more gap year travel advice check out The Leap's other blogs which discuss:

1. The Gap Year Time Line - how long to travel?

Remember, although we are calling it a gap year, your gap year experience doesn’t have to take a full 365 days. Most gappers travel for about 3 - 6 months and try to mix and match several different experiences to create a varied itinerary. A great place to start your planning is by completing our quiz which helps identify your wish list.

Take me to the quiz

2. Travel independently or with a team?

Firstly and most importantly - ask yourself if you want to travel independently or with a team.

The independent backpacker wants to travel with utter freedom, making decisions daily and changing them on an hourly basis. They are happy to make friends pool side, arrive in new places with no plans. Is this you? Or are you a pack animal and prefer to start with some structure?

Tell me more about the pros and cons of each

3. How much money do I need to take on my gap year?

Ah, the age old question. Money – it’s probably the most important thing to consider before you start planning your gap year, and the most common question we get asked. We suggest that you need to earn about £300 per week and you will spend between £200 - £250 per week when travelling. FYI Asia is cheaper than South /Central America and Africa.

How to fund my gap year

4. Trending gap year destinations?

Currently the top destinations are:

Peru - perfect or culture, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca

Colombia - perfect for Caribbean, culture, Lost City trek and adrenaline activities.

Kenya - perfect for beach, bush and wildlife.

Top Leap destinations

5. Gap year packing?

Oh yes…a new era of gear and gadgets is upon you that will have you climbing mountains, surviving the jungle and sleeping like a baby in the nosiest of hostels.

I promise you the effort you put in beforehand will reap reward when you are out on your gap year. You can be the traveller who can access anything in a nano second, have light when the generator breaks, hang up wet clothes in the middle of the jungle and sleep in the middle of a rave with your earplugs wedged in.

Gap year packing solutions

The Leap

The Leap are specialists in volunteering and adventure travel. Booking a Leap programme gives you the double whammy of a rewarding and fun Leap programme, plus access to our travel advice hub, which gives you all the information you need to travel independently after the programme (more often than not with your new Leap friends). This gives our Leapers the best of both worlds - a structured programme as well as insider travel tips to make the most of an independent travelling phase.

Of course, you can still just do a programme or just access the hub – but the double whammy has become the first choice for so many. So, kick start your gap year with a Leap team programme, which all combine a mix of locations and contrasting projects opportunities, with a broad focus on global warming, climate change, conservation, community and language skills. Our in-country guides are on hand to take care of all the logistics so you hit the ground running - contributing and exploring from the moment you arrive.

The independent travel phase is supported through our travel hub which provides gap year planning consultations, off grid travel opportunities, backpacker itineraries and 24/7 emergency back-up, plus so much more. Never has gap year planning, travelling and volunteering been so easy, so get in touch with the gap year experts.

CHECK OUT OUR TEAM PROGRAMMES: or OUR LEAP VIP service here for the independent traveller

Check our our gap year programmes

Start your gap year with one of The Leap's volunteering, adventure programmes across Africa, Asia and South America.

Yes please, tell me more

Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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Yes please, let's keep life simple.